“Your name is all you have,” Erin Henderson told the Pioneer Press on Wednesday in the wake of being dealt a four game suspension by the NFL. “Because of that, I’ve always tried to hold myself to a higher standard.”
Henderson was suspended by the league for violating their performance-enhancing substance policies.
Henderson is not being shy about defending the name he and his brother E.J. hold in such importance. He insists that he did nothing to deserve the suspension and questions the accuracy of tests performed by the league.
“I’m being punished for doing something I didn’t do,” he said. “I never wanted anyone to run my name through the dirt. So for something like this to mess it up is mind-boggling and really frustrating.”
Before the season, doctors had prescribed Henderson with medicine to help with hives and allergies. Later, he also had been subscribed some medicine after injuring his shoulder in a preseason game. Henderson claims that he insisted that all medications be cleared by the NFL and that all of that was well documented.
“We believe, in my camp, something mixed or something happened in that process that caused me to have a positive reaction,” he said.
A week before his positive test, Henderson passed a test without incident. Since then, he has been tested “at least 20 times” without any instances either.
“I could have easily served my four games during that time [I was injured] and been done with it, and I could be playing right now,” Henderson said. “But in my heart of hearts, I knew I didn’t do anything wrong. If I was wrong, if I did something wrong, I would served my four games like a man. I wouldn’t have killed my team, like I am now.”
[Editor’s Note: Henderson’s absence is unfortunate, but does not “kill” the team. So don’t freak out, they’ll be okay!]
Henderson has already made his case in the form of an appeal, using a lawyer and toxicologist in his defense, but the NFL denied his appeal due to their “zero tolerance” stance on performance enhancing drugs. The NFL declined to give comment for the Pioneer Press story.
Henderson’s base salary is about $385,000 for this year, and he will lose about $90,000 due to the suspension, but that isn’t what Henderson is concerned about.
The money I lost is irrelevant. I’m not worried about that,” he said. “The stigma, and the stress it’s caused my family — everybody from back home looking at me in a different light and thinking, ‘Is Erin really doing this?’ — is way worse than any monetary loss.”
“I know what I’m about,” Henderson said. “I have no problem looking at myself in the mirror.”
Now for the “Adam’s opinion” part of this article.
I have my own personal questions about drug testing and their accuracy. I once had to drug test before starting a new job and thought nothing of it, as I don’t so much as use Tylenol unless I absolutely have to, much less any other illegal substances.
When the results came back, my boss informed me that I had a “negative-dilute” result for an illegal substance. I was shocked, and anyone that knows me would have vouched for the fact that I have been “clean” my entire life.
Much like Henderson, I was less concerned about the loss of employment and loss of money as I was clearing my good name. I immediately volunteered to take the test again right away without any time to “prepare.”
A week later when the results came back, there was no trace of the illegal substance previously in question, but instead I tested positive for a steroid.
Now this was even more unbelievable, as anyone that knows me (or has even seen me) would not be able to contain their giggles if they were told I was using steroids. I am a trim and generally fit human, but by no means am I bulky or anywhere near looking like a gym rat. The last time I was in a gym during the last four years was waiting for Mrs. Warwas to finish up with her aerobics class.
So, to make a long story short, I personally think the accuracy behind drug tests are hogwash. And if the league is going to take a stance on such an important (and it is important) subject, then they need to find a process that involves a little less of that hogwash.
NFL players are often tested before, during, and after practices or even in awkward random situations like at casinos or at parties.
During these practices players can be dehydrated from working out or they can be extremely hydrated because trainers are constantly forcing them to drink loads of water and Gatorade. Fluctuations in hydration is thought to possibly cause drug tests to produce “false positives” like the one Henderson received simply because it appears like they are trying to hide something because their bodies are so dehydrated.
This article explains this by saying, “The situation is further complicated if an athlete has been competing in an endurance sport and is dehydrated or competing at a weight category where they are reluctant to drink excess fluid.”
So, don’t worry Erin. On at least one little blog, your name is still as good as it ever was.